When he died, the only thing he willed to anyone was his watch, which he left to me. At the time I thought it was pretty cool, but didn't think much of it. What's a teenager going to do with a stuffy old watch? So I left it in a drawer, where it's sat, moving from place to place with us, for many years.
About two months ago I got to wondering about that watch and why it was so special to him and, more significantly, why he would've wanted me to have it. According to my grandmother, it was given to him by his father-in-law, Little Mama's dad. Grampa Dudd (I hope I got that name right) was a typical early 20th-century man: he worked hard, he was a harsh disciplinarian, and he rarely if ever showed emotion. He came from a poor rural background where it was a man's place to provide for his family, but a woman's place to care for them. At some point, he realized that his son-in-law, Papa, was a pretty special person for having married his spitfire of a daughter. Grampa Dudd gave Papa this watch as a gift, an act which amazed the family given his rough personality. My grandmother told me that Papa always really liked me and that he wanted his first great-grandchild to have his watch.
When I pulled the watch out of the drawer I assumed it wouldn't work. Amazingly, after winding it up, it started ticking away. Here's what it looked like at first:
I took it in to a jeweler and had some extensive repair work done, including refinishing the face and replacing the stainless steel band with a brown leather one. I got it back this weekend, and this is what it looks like now:
You'll notice that the face is far less yellowed and has a beautiful pearly look to it. I'm not exactly sure how old the watch is - I've done a little research and it appears to be a model from the late '60s or early '70s, although my grandmother seems to recall Papa receiving it in the early '60s. I'm still considering having the crystal replaced as it's pretty scratched up.
It's definitely not a very modern-looking watch. It's small, much smaller than the Citizen I usually wear. I wore it yesterday to work and it looks pretty cool with a long-sleeve shirt. It certainly won't be an everyday watch; maybe just the occasional trip to church or nice dinners.
Anyway, thanks for the watch Papa. I'm sorry I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I love it now. I wear it with pride knowing that it meant so much to you, who meant so much to others. I promise to take good care of it, and I'll make sure your great-grandson gets to wear it some day too.